psych out

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Traskland
Tags: , , , , , ,

“You know how it is when you go to be the subject of a psychology experiment, and nobody else shows up, and you think maybe that’s part of the experiment? I’m like that all the time.” – Steven Wright

I have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test several times over the course of my working life. This test is designed to identify how you perceive the world and, as a result, function within it through psychological preferences. Ideally it will help you understand why you favor doing things in a certain way. An added benefit is that it can also help maximize your influence by giving insight on how other people operate and what techniques you can employ to effectively meet both their needs and yours.

The test gauges four specific aspects of your psyche.

– How you focus your attention or get your energy (extraversion/introversion)
– How you perceive or take in information (sensing/intuition)
– How you prefer to make decisions (thinking/feeling)
– How you orient yourself to the external world (judgment/perception)

Each aspect has two dichotomies associated with it, as indicated above. (The Myers-Briggs folks are quick to point out their definitions of these dichotomies differ from than the everyday definitions of these words.) Based upon where your answers plot on a graph one dichotomy for each aspect of your psyche is identified. For example, if your answers plot you in Extraversion (E), Intuition (I), Feeling (F) and Judgment (J) grids your type is identified as EIFJ. A lengthy explanation about the general preferences of EIFJ, along with all the types, is provided. There are 16 possible psychological types. No one type is “better” than another; they’re just the different ways people naturally function.

Each type has characteristics generally found in the people identifying as that type. Whenever I’ve taken the test I am pegged as an INTJ which, all things considered, is pretty damn close to the truth. A majority of INTJ characteristics are dead-on accurate, at least as they apply to me. Actually, it’s kind of creepy.

Strongly Agree
– Strong confidence in their ability and talents
– Love independence of thought
– Prepared to lead if no one else seems up to the task
– Works best when given autonomy and creative freedom
– Pragmatic
– Logical
– Creative
– Desires efficiency
– Low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism
– Stable, reliable, and dedicated
– Harmony in relationships and home life tends to be extremely important
– Very loyal and prepared to commit substantial energy and time into a relationship to make it work

Mildly Agree
– Generally not susceptible to catchphrases
– Do not recognize authority based on tradition, rank, or title
– Harbor an innate desire to express themselves by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs
– Often acutely aware of their own knowledge and abilities as well as their limitations and what they don’t know
– Generally withhold strong emotion and do not like to waste time with what they consider irrational social rituals
– Trust their intuition when choosing friends and mates even in spite of contradictory evidence or pressure from others

Could Go Either Way
– Most comfortable working alone
– Emotions are hard to read
– Talent for analyzing and formulating complex theories
– Seeks out others with similar character traits and ideologies (in relationships)
– Can be demanding in their expectations, and approach relationships in a rational manner

– At times seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those they care for
– In social situations may also be unresponsive and may neglect small rituals designed to put others at ease

Of the 25 characteristics listed here, only 2 clearly don’t apply to me. Or at least I don’t think they apply to me. Some may think otherwise.

One thing I find interesting is with each subsequent test my answers have plotted more and more towards the center of the graph. This means today I could just as easily be labeled an “E” rather than an “I” or an “S” as opposed to an “N”. Maybe that’s the by-product of years of experience dealing with workplace tribulations, politics and crises. Maybe I’ve become a chameleon. I don’t know. These days I do find it easier to understand someone else’s perspective than I did when I first started working. Hopefully I’ve become more effective as a result. I feel more effective, so at least there’s that.

I also find it interesting that my type – INTJ – is one of the rarest psychological types. It accounts for a mere 1% – 4% of the population. My parents always told me I was something else – and they didn’t need Myers-Briggs to figure it out!

If you wish to learn more about Myers-Briggs click here. Happy self-analysis!

  1. joem18b says:

    I would take the test but that is what they expect me to do.


  2. I got ENFJ that time. The E was 1%. the F and J were 12%. the N was still 33%. The problem is that there are several questions where I could go either way.


  3. Nate Shenk says:

    I love taking interesting tests like this! Thanks for sharing…now I have another excuse to not work 😛


  4. BrainRants says:

    John, I want a membership card. I’m an INTJ according to Hotspur’s link. Interestingly, I took a full up Myers/Briggs in high school and was an INTJ then too. So this would tend to make me think that the link is a good one, and that my results self-support. I also guess I just thought that out like an INTJ.


  5. kayjai says:

    I just took the test, and I too am an INFJ with my highest percentage in the Feeling category (50%), 44% in the Introverted and 12% in Intuitive and 11% respectively in Judging. Very interesting to say the least.


  6. Mine never did change over time – always and forever ENFP!


  7. whiteladyinthehood says:

    I’ve taken this before too – but it’s been too long ago to remember what I was. I took it again (thanks Hotspur for the link) and I am classifed as an ISFJ…which is ‘close’ to how I probably am.


    I also got INTJ this time. What is more interesting is the percentages into each letter. I got 62% on Intuitive, and 30% on Introverted, but only 6% on the others. And I dislike that you’re forced to choose, because I work completely differently the first time I run across a situation than subsequent times.


    • Just took the test and scored INFJ (knew I was kind of iffy on the T). Apparently, this type is also rare – about 3% of the population. I was 33% on the introverted, 75% on both the intuition and feeling and 56% on the judging. And INFJ’s are the poets of the personality types.

      So cool – thanks for the link!


    • John says:

      There is a degree of error, especially with the shorter test. It seems as if it’s generally accurate 75% of the time. Or not.


  9. I took the test some years ago. I think I was an INTJ, too. I remember there was an I, and N and a J – not too sure about the T. I was also told it was rare or maybe weird. In related news, only 2% of the world’s population are natural redheads, so a redheaded INTJ must be extremely rare – like that woodpecker that was thought to be extinct but was spotted somewhere in the midwest or maybe Mississippi.


  10. Every time I take this, I get something different. I am a pretty balanced guy, brain-wise. These are like 4 false dichotomies to me.


  11. H.E. ELLIS says:

    #1. This is amazing and I’m going to try this out now. I’ll check back and let you know what mine is.
    #2. We would be real world friends I think, Mr. INTJ!


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